Whether your favorite shirt suffered a wine spill or your grandkids’ shorts took a beating at the park, the best stain erasers are already in your pantry!
Banish wine spills with salt.
If someone spills red wine or fruit punch on clothing or patio cushions, a dash of salt will instantly absorb the liquid before it can permanently stain. Just pour liberally onto the area and let it sit for at least five minutes, then shake or scrape off the residue.
Stain still visible? Dab the spot with a little hydrogen peroxide, which lifts any pigments or tannins left behind. “It may take a little while, but the stain will disappear,” assures cleaning expert Leslie Reichert. Rinse and repeat until the stain is history.
Say goodbye to BBQ stains with dish soap.
The same soap that dislodges stuck-on food from pots and pans works just as well at getting BBQ or pizza sauce off clothes, thanks to its grease-cutting power, says Reichert. Just turn the garment inside out and flush with cold water to blast the stain from back to front. Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid, gently working it in with your fingers, then rinse and throw in the wash. All done!
Remove greasy ‘oopsies’ with a bit of baking soda.
You’re enjoying a long-overdue family cookout when, splat, burger grease drips off your plate onto your clothes. Not to worry: Just cover the area with a bit of baking soda, advises Kathleen Tesnakis, founder of Ekologic. You’ll notice a chemical reaction, such as the spot turning dark, as the baking soda absorbs the stain. Let sit for a few minutes, then shake off any remaining powder and launder as usual.
Outsmart sweat marks with aspirin paste.
Perspiration stains on your white tees? Don’t sweat it! “Just crush three aspirin tablets into a bowl and add enough water to make a paste,” advises Joey Green, author of Cleaning Magic. The salicylic acid in aspirin loosens the oils and antiperspirant residue that turns fabric yellow, lightening set-in stains while preventing new ones. “Spread the paste on the stains and let sit overnight. In the morning, rinse with hot water, and the area should look whiter and brighter.”
Lift grass streaks with rubbing alcohol.
The same plant pigment that gives your lawn its vibrant color, chlorophyll, locks into fibers like permanent dye, which is what makes grass stains so hard to remove. The secret weapon to releasing chlorophyll’s hold? Rubbing alcohol, which dissolves the pigments, says Green. Simply soak a sponge and saturate the spot. Blot until the green is gone, then wash.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.